ESEA Waiver Presents Opportunity to Build Upon Delaware’s Reform Efforts

December 9th, 2011

Category: News, Policy and Practice

Delaware will join approximately 40 other states seeking a waiver from requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – providing us an unprecedented opportunity to build upon our current Race to the Top efforts around data use and teacher quality.

Based upon Delaware’s initial draft, we are proposing to:

  • Continue our efforts around Common Core implementation and transitioning to next generation assessments; and
  • Move forward with DPAS II implementation as outlined in our Race to the Top application.

This approach keeps us on the path outlined through Race to the Top – leaving room for us to incorporate additional best practices in order to strengthen current education reform efforts.  These include:

  • Adopting the remaining Data Quality Campaign’s State Actions, which include developing data systems that provide interested stakeholders access to student level data across multiple school years and promoting educator development and credentialing based upon data usage;
  • Utilizing Title II, Part A funds to support educator preparation pipelines with proven track records of success along with encouraging innovation at the district and school level around increasing the quality of their teachers;
  • Requiring evaluations be used to make critical human capital decisions, such as in the unfortunate circumstance of layoffs ;
  • Developing a plan to equalize access to “effective” educators or requiring that no student is taught by an “ineffective” teacher two years in a row (similar to Rhode Island); and
  • Holding all educator preparation programs accountable for results, similar to Louisiana

There no doubt will be more anticipation and focus on the state’s forthcoming next generation accountability system.  And while this will outline the state’s relationship with districts and schools, we must not overlook the potential to improve our work around improving data use and teacher quality – especially with other state’s providing clear examples of success from which we could learn.

Moving forward, all interested stakeholders are encouraged to comment on principles one and three with the DOE set to release a draft of principle two next week (which we will blog on once the draft is available).  There will be various meetings, town halls, and phone calls planned over the next six weeks for stakeholders to provide feedback.

We look forward to working with all interested stakeholders in helping craft the final waiver request in a way that cements Delaware’s status as a national education reform leader other states should emulate.

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Brett Turner



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